Three arrested in LL heroin bust

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Valencia County Regional Narcotics agents arrested three people on drug trafficking charges Tuesday after the unit got a tip that drug sales were taking place in Los Lunas.

Los Lunas Police Lt. Naithan Gurule said the unit teamed up with DEA agents in an undercover operation that netted 32 grams of heroin seized from suspects.

Police say the heroin was being sold in the Village Inn parking lot.

The Valencia County Regional Drug Taskforce is made up of three Los Lunas police officers and one Bosque Farms police officer.

The unit arrested Pete Chavez, 32, of Belen, Florencio Mendoza, 49, of Los Lunas, and Roy Barela, 23, of Moriarty, after surveillance was conducted in the area.

Barela and Mendoza were arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, trafficking of a controlled substance and a prohibited act involving a controlled substance.

Chavez was arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamines and using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking, according to a press release.

The press release said Barela was found with 24 grams of heroin, while Mendoza had eight grams of heroin in his possession.

The drugs were individually wrapped for resale, police say.

Mendoza and Barela were arrested at the scene, while agents tracked down Chavez near Main Street and N.M, 314 a short time later.

Gurule said agents moved in after being tipped off that someone was making drug sales in the area. He said .2 to .5 grams of heroin is consistent with someone using the drug for personal use.

The estimated street value of the heroin is $2,000.

"(Heroin) is a very powerful drug," Gurule said. "Thirty-two grams is significant."

Barela and Mendoza were booked into the Valencia County Detention Center on Oct. 4. Barela is being held without bond for a pending warrant from the New Mexico Probation and Parole Department.

Mendoza is being held on a $210,000 cash or surety bond at the detention center.

Chavez was transported to Sandoval County, where he made his first court appearance on Oct. 5.

The Valencia County Regional Drug Taskforce acts on anonymous tips from both residents and information that is passed along from other drug-related crimes. The group was formed in January 2010.


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